Change is a natural part of life. But the recent changes we’ve been facing on a global scale are much larger and more dramatic than anyone could have anticipated. Here at Udemy, our global team is adapting to this change by working to meet the needs of students, instructors, and businesses who are suddenly and unexpectedly now spending the majority of their time at home and working remotely.

How are people coping with this new reality, both in terms of balancing personal and professional obligations and more specifically in continuing to pursue their learning goals? As part of our ongoing research on workplace trends, Udemy surveyed 1,000 U.S. full-time workers about COVID-19. Here are some of our findings.

Adjusting to the new reality

Not too surprisingly, the coronavirus is weighing heavily on people’s minds.

As workforces have gone remote, employees say their top distractions are:

Dealing with meals, pets, outside noise, and other distractions are pretty much consistent between men and women, but there’s a significant gap when it comes to chores and kids. 33% of women vs. 26% of men cite kids as a top distraction while working remotely and 20% of women vs. 13% of men cite household chores as a top distraction.

The latest trending popular skills 

Our team also looked at the top tech and soft skills for 2020 and compared those findings to recent Udemy usage. As people around the world are spending the majority of their time at home and working remotely, we wanted to revisit the top skills and see how they’ve grown.

The top 3 soft skills

1. Growth mindset 

In the last 30 days, growth mindset courses have surged 231% in popularity. To put it simply, a growth mindset comes down to a love of learning and an openness to trying new things. In the past few weeks, our users have been tackling topics such as Growth Mindset for Leaders and Building Confidence Through a Growth Mindset.

One undercurrent of a growth mindset is the willingness and resilience to deal with change. That’s certainly pertinent today as people, businesses, and organizations adapt to a current environment where change is the only constant. Want to explore this topic in more detail? Udemy instructor Diane Flynn offers her tips on how to foster a growth mindset in this blog post.

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2. Creativity

Creativity courses have surged 84% in popularity in the last 30 days. These courses are related to developing new ideas, applying new solutions to address existing problems, and thinking differently, including classes such as Watercolor Painting, Storytelling, and Creative Writing.

Going out less gives us more time to spend on creative pursuits. By now you may have heard that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while in quarantine from the plague. And people may be looking for hobbies and distractions to replace some of their previous free-time activities that involved going out or being surrounded by others. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that occupying our minds with novelty can be a great way to relieve stress.

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3. Focus mastery

Given the statistics we shared earlier about the distractions people are facing when working from home, it makes sense that focus mastery courses have surged 146% in popularity. With kids, pets, partners, roommates, and myriad other distractions competing for people’s attention, we’re turning to courses to help them boost their own focus and productivity. Courses like Modern Productivity and Organizing Time have been especially popular. Udemy instructor Alexis Haselberger discusses some of the common roadblocks to productivity and how to overcome them in this post.

Time Management Mastery: Do More, Stress Less

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The top 3 tech skills

1. TensorFlow

When you are a technologist with perhaps a little more time on your hands than before, you use that time to get up to speed or master the fastest-growing technology trends.

When it comes to tech skills, TensorFlow courses have grown in popularity by 62%. It’s amazing to think that TensorFlow is less than five years old, but as the market looks for expertise in machine learning, AI, and deep learning, TensorFlow keeps growing. This may be due to the fact that TensorFlow has a whole ecosystem of tools and availability in programming languages such as JavaScript and Swift and is generally considered to be a user-friendly tool. Read more from Udemy instructor Jose Portilla in TensorFlow 2.0: A Powerful New Deep Learning Tool.

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2. Chatbots

Courses on chatbots have seen a 45% increase in popularity. Chatbots are used largely in lieu of direct contact with a human agent and are much easier to scale. Chatbot technology was already named the #2 top tech skill for 2020, and with more people conducting business from home, organizations are likely turning to chatbots to quickly scale their customer service efforts.

3. Microsoft Azure

Rounding out the top three tech skills that have been surging in popularity is Microsoft Azure, with a 38% increase. In a suddenly decentralized work environment, all things cloud-related are increasing in importance. Some businesses are suddenly in the position to have to deal with unprecedented demand and attention (videoconferencing, for example). Cloud technology appropriately applied provides a business with the means to throttle a business up or down to meet demand.

Microsoft offers 10 different certifications for IT specialists to verify their skills in Azure, ranging from the generalist Azure Administrator to the advanced Azure Architect. Even if your team isn’t using Azure solutions currently, Udemy instructor Scott Duffy suggests learning fundamentals for the platform to propel personal career growth and to get ahead of any technical shifts your company could make as it migrates more IT practices to the cloud.

Adapting to change is more critical than ever. Companies are redefining processes, technology, and infrastructure, but ensuring their employees feel supported throughout these substantial changes is essential. 

Udemy is here to help. Supporting the needs of your workforce and helping you and your employees do whatever comes next is our top priority. By providing topical, trending content on personal and professional development, our breadth of courses will help you lead your organization through times of change. 

Looking for additional courses to recommend to your employees? We’ve curated our top recommendations here.

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